For the first time, microplastics were found deep in the lungs of living people. The particles were found in nearly all of the samples that were analyzed.
The scientists tested tissue in 13 patients undergoing surgery and found that 11 of them had polypropylene and PET, some of the most common plastics. Microplastic pollution is a massive problem, and while some places, like California, have taken the first steps towards combatting microplastics, this needs to be a much larger focus.
Microplastics have already been found in human organs, human blood, pregnant women’s placentas, and even on top of Mount Everest. The most common types discovered in the samples were polypropylene which is used in plastic packaging, furniture, ropes, automotive parts, and most other things. They also found PET, which is used to make bottles.
It’s not new information that we breathe in and consume tiny plastic particles through food and water, but we are finding them at much higher rates, and people who are exposed to high levels of microplastics are known to have developed diseases.
The impacts of microplastics on our bodies are not yet fully known, but it can’t be a good thing. Researchers worry that microplastics can damage human cells, and we already know that air pollution particles enter our bodies and kill millions of people per year. Although the results are frightening, hopefully, this will lead to more tests and studies to examine the health effects and impacts.
“We did not expect to find the highest number of particles in the lower regions of the lungs, or particles of the sizes we found,” Laura Sadofsky, a senior author of the study, told The Guardian. “It is surprising as the airways are smaller in the lower parts of the lungs and we would have expected particles of these sizes to be filtered out or trapped before getting this deep.”
Experts have also been assessing the link between microplastic and cancer, although this is nothing new. A 1998 study of lung cancer patients found plastic and plant fibers, like cotton, in more than 100 samples. In cancerous tissues, 97 percent contained the fibers, and 83 of the non-cancerous samples were contaminated. We know our plastic usage has continued to increase since then, and we need to start moving away from the plastic before it is devastating to public health.
Source: European Parliament/Youtube
Thankfully, it seems like many people are finally seeing the horrible impact plastic has on the environment and public health. California recently became the first state to make a plan to combat microplastics while researchers at Michigan Tech found a way to turn plastic waste into protein powder. Starbucks is even moving away from single-use plastic!
Microplastics have been found everywhere, from Mount Everest to the depths of the oceans, and it’s even been found in the placentas of pregnant women. It’s more important now than ever to move away from single-use plastic. Not only is it horrible for the environment, but now studies like this are revealing how devastating they can be for human cells. Through food, the air, and other ways, we are constantly consuming tiny plastic particles.
There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. Some numerous simple actions and switches can help cut plastic out of our lives including making your cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads! Please also sign this petition to join the fight against plastic pollution!
- Microplastics Found in Human Blood for the First Time, New Study Finds
- California Becomes First State with Plan to Combat Microplastics
- Scientists Find Out How Microplastics Create More Antibiotic Resistance
- Petition: Ban Single-Use Plastic; Microplastics Have Now Been Found in Antarctica
- Microplastics Found in Placentas of Pregnant Women
- Scientists Discover Microplastics on Mount Everest
- Baby Bottles Release Microplastics, Per New Study
- Scientists Can Now Discover Microplastics in Human Organs
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!